The May Donegal Sports Star Awards review highlights a number of super international successes in swimming and athletics for the county. The Ballyshannon Marlins Club member Mona McSharry won three gold medals for Ireland at the World Schools Games in Morocco. The golds came in the team 4x100m Freestyle, 50m Breastroke and 4x100m Individual Medley Relay.
Also abroad Gortahork man Brian O’Domhnaill, a member of Finn Valley AC, won an individual silver in the 30k Walk and bronze in the team event for Ireland at the European Masters Championships in Alicante, Spain. And staying with athletics Brendan Boyce produced an excellent performance to finish 17th at the World Race Walking Team Championships in China.
On the national stage Lifford/Strabane athlete Brendan O’Donnell set a new personal best of 67.68m in the Men’s Hammer at the Leevale Open Sports in Cork.
Also in May O’Donnell set a new record in the Senior Boys Hammer, throwing 63.32. at the Ulster Schools Final at the Antrim Forum. The following day at the same championships his club colleague Adrienne Gallen set a new record of 10.63m in the Minor Girls Shot Putt.
Meanwhile Martin McLucas, Pauric McKinney and Finbarr Gallagher were members of the first Inishowen AC team to win the National 10k Championship in Dublin. In motorsport on the first weekend in May, Donal Barrett and Manus Kelly, on their first outing of the season, had a super win at the Killarney Rally of the Lakes in their Subaru Impreza with 29 seconds to spare in the end over Bob Barrable and Damien Connolly in a Fiesta.
There were Irish titles for two Donegal female boxers during the month. Dunree ABC boxer Breda Collins won the 43ks title at the Irish Championships staged at Dublin’s National Stadium. And at the same venue Raphoe Boxing Club’s Leah Gallen won the Irish Junior 1 66kg Category.
On the first Sunday of the month Kilmacrennan lad Richard Kerr got his opening points on the board at the Supersport Championship in Oulton Park, UK. Then at the end of May Kilmacrennan’s Caolan Irwin finished sixth in the 600 BSB Championship race at Donington Park in the UK.
It was a good month for underage girls GAA with the Donegal U15 Girls winning the Ulster Football title after an easy 5-17 to 1-5 victory over Down at Drumragh. Then the Donegal U16 Ladies took a provincial title after a 4-10 to 0-5 victory over Cavan in Augher, Co. Tyrone. That was followed by the Donegal U14 Girls winning their Ulster Football Final thanks to a 3-11 to 2-9 victory over Tyrone in Omagh.
In American Football there was a third win in a row for the Donegal-Derry Vipers who moved top of the Irish American Football League 1 table after doing a demolition 27-0 job on the NI Razorbacks. On the May Bank Holiday weekend City of Derry Spartans athlete Conor Bradley won the 22nd North West 10k in a time of 32.21, which was 18 seconds ahead of Letterkenny AC member Eoghan McGinley. Finn Valley AC’s Teresa Doherty was first across the line in the women’s section in a time of 36.16.
Locally Ramelton man Marty Lynch won the WAAR 2018 in time of 2.22.20 while Letterkenny AC’s Danny Mooney did a double at the Donegal Track & Field Championship at the Finn Valley Centre winning the 800m and 3000m finals. Danny McDaid’s legendary athletic achievements was honoured when the Glenswilly man was bestowed with the Freedom of Donegal at the County House in Lifford.
In snooker father and son Aidan and Sean Devenney suffered defeat at the National Snooker Finals at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow. Sean lost out 4-2 to Aaron Hill of Cork in the U18 Final while dad Aidan was defeated 4-1 by fellow North West Snooker Club member Johnny Connors in the last 16 of the Senior Championship. In May three Donegal cyclists Ronan McLaughlin, Mitchell McLaughlin and Aaron McBride completed the grueling Ras Tailteann around Ireland
On the first Sunday of the month Rory Kavanagh’s Donegal U16s won the Buncrana Cup Final for the first time in five years with a narrow 1-13 to 1-12 win over Tyrone at the Scarvey Grounds in Buncrana. On the May Bank Holiday Monday, Naomh Conaill took the Donegal Senior Gaeltacht title in Downings with a 1-13 to 3-6 win over Naomh Columba while Fanad Gaels proved to strong for hosts Na Dunaibh (0-13 to 0-6). On the Saturday, Glenfin defeated Termon in the Senior Ladies decider.
The Donegal Masters advanced in the championship thanks to a 1-12 to 1-8 victory over Monaghan in Clones and then overcame Cavan 2-21 to 0-10 at Coaliste Ailigh in Letterkenny. In the middle of the month there was a disappointing exit for the Donegal Minors who lost 1-12 to 1-10 to Monaghan in an Ulster Football Championship Round 2 Qualifier.
On the same day Donegal advanced to the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final after a very comfortable 2-20 to 1-15 win over Cavan at McCumhaill Park. And then on the last Sunday of May, Declan Bonner’s men booked their place in the provincial semi-final of after a 2-16 to 0-16 win over Derry at Celtic Park. On the same day the Donegal U-20s impressed in a 2-11 to 0-10 victory over Cavan at Celtic Park with Niall O’Donnell scoring 1-12.
Three former Raphoe Royal & Prior students Luke Witherow, Alexander Tinney and Ben Wallace were named on the Irish U-21 Hockey squad for a Four- Nation tournament in New York against Argentina, Brazil and the United States. Witherow and Wallace were named in the traveling party while Tinney was included as non-travelling reserve.
On the horseracing circuit Letterkenny teenager Dylan Browne-McMonagle got off to a blistering start in the local season with five wins at the first meeting in Porthall.
At the end of May Declan Boyle in a Fiesta WRC finished second and 34.6 seconds behind winner Josh Moffett in the Cavan Rally which was round three of the National Championships. On the Rugby front Larissa Muldoon from the Twin Towns, a member of the Railway Union Club, won the Ladies Player of the Year at the Ulster Rugby Awards. And on the same night Letterkenny’s Conor McMenamin was named Youth Player of the Year.
For Finn Harps there was a good start to the May Bank Holiday weekend with victories on the Friday and Monday. Ollie Horgan’s men came from behind to defeat Drogheda Utd 2-1 on the Friday night thanks to goals from Keith Cowan and Ciaran O’Connor. Then on the Bank Holiday Monday a wonder late strike from Jesse Deevers saw Ollie Horgan’s men bag a big three points against Galway Utd. Harps followed that up by managing a decent 0-0 draw against Shelbourne at Tolka Park. However, after a five-game unbeaten run Horgan’s outfit slumped to a poor 1-0 defeat against Cobh Ramblers in Ballybofey. Then on the last Friday of the month a late equalizer denied Harps a win against Wexford Youths at Ferrycarraig Park after Paddy McCourt had given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.
At the start of the month Fanad Youths completed a double by defeating Letterkenny Rovers 1-0 thanks a very late extra-time winner from Keelan McGroddy at the Moss in Drumoghill to retain the Colin Breslin Memorial Cup title. A late Luke McCarry goal gave Dunfanaghy Youths an historic first Donegal title at this age-group as Danny Ferry’s boys defeated Swilly Rovers 1-0 in the John ‘Gorey’ Curran Memorial Cup Final at the Dry Arch.
Kildrum Tigers were crowned Donegal Junior League Premier Division champions for the first time in 17 years after a 1-1 draw against title Castlefin Celtic in St. Johnston. A fortnight later the St. Johnston outfit completed the double after overcoming Kilmacrennan Celtic in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the Brian McCormick Cup Final at the Dry Arch. Kilmac had taken an early 2-0 lead but the Premier Division champions came back to force extra-time before taking the title.
In the middle of May Letterkenny Rovers retained the Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup title with a 2-1 win over Cockhill Celtic coming from behind with goals from Declan Sharkey and Ryan Lonergan. On the same day Glengad Utd clinched their fourth Inishowen Premier Division title in a row after a 1-0 away win over Aileach FC. However, there was revenge and some consolation for Aileach on the last Sunday of May when they won the Buncrana Credit Union Cup Final after 1-0 victory over Glengad thanks to a first half Darren McMonagle goal.
In May there was disappointment for Leitirmacaward’s Carl McHugh who was captain of the Motherwell side were beaten 2-0 by Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final.
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